Lalit Gupta, deputy director general of the Directorate General of Civil Aviation (DGCA), confirmed the incident was due to pilots accidentally neglecting to regulate the cabin pressure, according to the Hindustan Times.
Oxygen masks were deployed during the emergency aboard the Boeing 737, said Darshak Hathi, a passenger. "As per initial info, out of 166 people on board, 30 passengers have nose bleeding, few have ear bleeding and some are complaining of headaches". The Times reported that India's Aircraft Accident Investigation Bureau has launched a probe into the incident, and the airline said it is "extending full cooperation".
Jet Airways said the flight had returned "due to loss in cabin pressure" and that the firm "regretted" any distress or inconvenience caused to passengers.
Without pressurization, the air becomes drier and thinner, leading to compromised membranes in the ears and nose.
All patients have since been released from the hospital.
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Incredibly, cabin crew failed to pressurise the cabin of the B737 aircraft, which landed safely with 166 plus five crew on board. "I told my co-passengers that I am bleeding and waved to the air hostess, but she told me to remain seated and that all is normal", Kala said.
Satish Nair also posted a picture and complained that passengers were not kept informed during the ordeal.
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The civil aviation ministry has taken cognisance of Thursday's incident and requested the directorate-general of civil aviation, the aviation regulator, to file a report immediately.
"The five patients, all males, have mild conductive deafness, a temporary condition which is likely to take a week or 10 days to heal. The matter is under investigation by DGCA and hence it would prudent to await the results of the probe", a NAG spokesperson said in a statement.